Renault's 'letter of intent' has given Lotus ten more weeks to finalise the sale of the embattled Enstone team. Mere hours before Lotus faced London's high court on Monday, Renault announced that it is now committed to completing the deal "in the coming weeks".
Also promised to the court was that a loan agreement had been made so that British authorities would receive its $4 million in unpaid taxes and insurance, resulting in the case being adjourned for ten more weeks. So if the buyout is complete by December, there is the strong possibility that Renault will be back in 2016 with a full works team.
It is expected that Romain Grosjean, currently at Lotus, will be unveiled on Tuesday as a Haas driver for 2016. Pastor Maldonado has already been confirmed by Lotus for next year. So if Renault has a seat open, Britain's Daily Mirror believes Jenson Button could be a lead contender to abandon the McLaren-Honda project and switch camps.
That would explain the odd spat between the two sides in Japan, with Ron Dennis vowing to honour Button's 2016 contract but the 2009 world champion refusing to commit. "If I am in F1 next season, it is to be competitive," Button told France's L'Equipe. "Fighting for eighth place does not interest me."
Probably Button's closest friend in the paddock is former F1 driver turned television commentator David Coulthard, who admits there is a possibility the 35-year-old will quit McLaren. "If Jenson still has a passion, and a belief that Honda will make a huge step forward, just as Ferrari did this year, then he should continue," he wrote in the Telegraph. "But if he fears another year like this, then he needs to move on. Otherwise it is just going to be counterproductive," Coulthard added. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing